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EXCLUSIVE: APMS providers paid 60% more than GMS practices

By Gareth Iacobucci

APMS providers are being paid up to twice as much per patient as their GMS counterparts, a Pulse investigation reveals.

Figures obtained from PCTs under the Freedom of Information Act show that APMS practices are receiving on average over 60% more than the typical GMS practice.

The figures – taken from 13 PCTs with APMS contracts in place – reveal the size of the extra investment alternative providers are receiving in order to offer extra services such as extended hours.

In some areas, APMS contracts are funded at twice the level of local GMS practices.

The investigation also reveals a huge expansion of APMS schemes around the country and the extent to which private companies are scrambling to win lucrative new contracts.

The average cost per patient for APMS contracts was just under £106, compared with the national average GMS figure of £65 per patient, and £77 for PMS practices.

Dr Thomas Reichhelm, a GP in West Malling, Kent, whose APMS practice receives £186 per patient, insisted the cost was justified by ‘the full menu' of services offered: ‘We're aiming to deliver 20 enhanced services.'

In Liverpool PCT, Chilvers McCrea, which has a contract to run two APMS practices, is receiving £118.69 per patient for 2008/9. The average GMS funding per patient in Liverpool PCT for 2007/8 was just £53.

But Dr Rory McCrea, chair of ChilversMcCrea, said: ‘We provide a comprehensive service that includes diabetes and long-term conditions management. APMS and GMS contracts are not like for like.'

Dr Richard Vautrey, deputy chair of the GPC, said the figures ‘throw into doubt value for money' and were in line with the pattern for PCT-run practices.

Dr John Ashcroft, a GP in Ilkeston, Derbyshire, and vice-chair of Derbyshire LMC, said: ‘The argument is APMS contracts provide other services, but most of the time they're providing very little extra.'

Dr Ijeoma Ukachuckwu, a GP in Brent, north London, said she had heard rumours APMS practices were being funded more generously: ‘It seems APMS GPs get preferential treatment in terms of funding and support.'

FOI responses from 75 PCTs show more than one in three now has some form of APMS contract in place, compared with just 10% a year ago.

Boots, UnitedHealth, Care UK, Chilvers McCrea, The Practice Plc and Harmoni have all bid to run services, according to the FOI responses.

Dr Richard Vautrey: figures 'throw into doubt' value for money of APMS rollout Dr Richard Vautrey: figures 'throw into doubt' value for money of APMS rollout

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